I posted some thoughts on my distaste for Politics a couple of years ago that I think would look good again here as I write a little this week on what’s changed for me. So here’s four posts from Fall 2006. I’m also reading over my posts in the "Politics" category here (read from the bottom – won’t make any more sense that way, but that’s the way they were posted). I’m wondering if "my book" is in the posts that show my thought processes, my drawbacks, my opinions and self-discoveries politically and philosophically.
One month from today, on November 7th Election Day 2006, I will drive to my local precinct, stand in line with neighbors, catch up with friends, say "HI" to folks I only see every couple of years in this repeated scenario, and check my name off the list of registered voters. I’ll go to one of the electronic polling boxes, enter whatever I have to get started, and I will proceed to hit "Next" on every screen. Right now, I don’t foresee any actual votes, only leaving blank spots and clicking next. No one gets my vote this year. My only alternative is to vote out all the incumbents – but that would just be spiteful. I might be persuaded to cast a vote in the SC Governor’s race, but not yet. For me, my best vote will be trying to let anyone paying attention know that I (1) appreciate the privilege of voting, (2) understand the duty of voting, and (3) am completely and utterly fed up with the state of modern campaigns in our soundbite-driven selfish consumeristic political culture.
If anyone pays attention and does something about it – might actually get my vote next time. For now, since "none of the above" isn’t a viable option in this state, I’ll vote "blank".
So my sweet wife gave me the only argument so far against my "voting plans" or lack thereof. She thinks my plan to go to the precinct and press "next" as my only "vote" is a waste of my time, the time of the folks’ behind me, waste of the resources and polling place volunteers. Well, maybe. I must admit, that’s the only argument that might sway me to not vote at all – which might not be her intent, but would stop me from being a pull on the election process.
Without a viable "none of the above", the only way I feel that I can let anyone know my thoughts is to cast "null votes" – a vote of "no", if you will. It is in fact a vote, just a vote for nothing above any of the candidates. I’m torn right now – she may be right, and I may be crazy. But it just might be a lunatic … wait, sorry for channeling Billy Joel. Where did that come from?!?
All of the political press I’ve seen so far has registered cynically and skeptically as being "what I want to hear" as opposed to "what you want to say". I mean that buzzwords like "family values" and "moral character" are great, but only if they’re more than buzzwords. Be creative, folks! Go out of your way to convey your message without throwing around pithy over-used campaign slogans. I’d love to have a candidate to support, a sign to post in my front-yard-by-the-heavily-trafficked-main-road. It shouldn’t be this difficult for me as a conscientious voter to find information on the races and referendums in my precinct – but I can’t find a sample ballot, can’t find a simple list of what’s going to be on the page yet. So I trust the sloganeers to at least let me know who’s running, only to find that the sloganeers don’t want me to do anything more than follow the herd out the pasture gate…
Rambling now – my bad. I want to vote, and I want someone to vote for. I won’t vote for the lesser of two evils – that’s still one evil too many getting into office. But feel free to take your shots, join my lovely bride, talk me out of wasting everyone’s time or at least casting votes that mean something.
This might be the right time and the right venue to tag along, tapping into the angst I feel and apparently share with at least a few folks. Might try to take the missus and catch this one – looks like the feel good sleeper of the fall.
Since posting a few days ago in the Politics category, I’ve actually seen a couple of things that give me hope for something positive coming about – if not this year, then maybe the next big election cycle in 2008.
- Don’tVote.com – this is from AARP, and it basically asks that you "don’t vote" unless you’re sure a person speaks up for your interests. If you don’t know what they stand for, then don’t vote. I think it’s the first time I’ve heard of anyone positing that it would be better to not vote consciously than to vote ignorantly. I am right there with that, adding the caveat that if I do know what each candidate stands for, I might have even more reason for not voting. But that’s another post.
- Armchair President – Found this podcast on iTunes the other day, and I’ve got to say it sounded like me talking in his latest episode – at least until he started getting really passionate and emotional about it. I think he still leans towards voting for who you think is best, even the lesser of two evils, but having "none of the above" would be a great choice nationally. What would it look like if the country had no executive branch head for a period of time? Made me think.
- NOTA.org – official site for getting "None Of The Above" placed on the ballot as a legitimate selection.